Faculty and Staff

Mona Leigh Guha 2018Dr. Mona Leigh Guha
Curriculum Vitae

Mona Leigh Guha holds a Ph.D. from the University of Maryland in Human Development, an M.S. from Johns Hopkins in Early Childhood Special Education, and a B.S. in Early Childhood Education from Lock Haven University. Before returning to the University of Maryland to earn her Ph.D, Mona Leigh was a classroom teacher in the Maryland public schools. She has over 20 years of experience working with children and over 10 years of experience directing, managing, and coordinating teams of adults. 

Previously, Mona Leigh was the Interim Director of the University of Maryland's Human Computer Interaction Lab (HCIL), an interdisciplinary lab focused on the experiences that adults and children have with technology, as well as Managing Director of KidsTeam, a team of adults and children who work together to design innovative technology for children. Through this work, Mona Leigh managed relationships and conducted research with partners such as the National Park Service, Pearson, Nickelodeon, and Google. Her past work includes five years of research with young children at the Center for Young Children. Her daughter is a proud, inquisitive, strong CYC alumna. 

Anne DanielAnne Daniel
Assistant Director

Anne Daniel has a B. A. in Elementary Education from the College of William and Mary, and a M. Ed. in Early Childhood Education from the University of Maryland. Extensive coursework beyond the Master's level taken at both the University of Maryland and Shenandoah University in Virginia has focused upon the field of children's literature.

Mrs. Daniel began her work at the Center for Young Children in 1976 as the lead teacher in a mixed-age group of preschoolers and continued in that role through 1979. After being home with her own two sons, she returned to the CYC as its kindergarten teacher in 1986. She continued in that capacity until 1992 when she became Assistant Director. Work experience prior to coming to the CYC includes teaching first grade in rural Virginia. She has taught both undergraduate and graduate children's literature courses and workshops at Trinity College in Washington, D.C., and she taught the early childhood children's literature course at the University of Maryland for 17 years.

Mrs. Daniel served as the early childhood representative to the National Gallery of Art's charter Teacher Advisory Board which consults with the Gallery regarding its education programs and school outreach efforts. She has co-authored early childhood curriculum guides focusing upon career awareness, fire safety and burn prevention, and computer issues. Mrs. Daniel, head of student employment at the CYC, has been honored as the University's "Employer of the Year" for her work with student employees. Ms. Daniel was nominated for the University's Parent Organization's "Faculty of the Year" award in 2001. In 2005, she was honored as a Phillip Merrill Presidential Scholar "Mentor Teacher".

Leslie OppenheimerLeslie Oppenheimer
Curriculum/Enrollment Coordinator

Leslie Oppenheimer has a B. A. degree in Elementary and Special Education from Salve Regina University in Newport, Rhode Island, and a M. Ed. degree in Early Childhood Education from the University of Charleston in Charleston, South Carolina.

Ms. Oppenheimer has over thirty years of teaching experience. She has taught preschool (three and four year olds) and kindergarten in an independent school. In addition, she has held various Special Education positions-- Learning Disabilities Resource Teacher for Charleston County Public Schools, Early Childhood Special Education lead teacher for Easter Seals/Disabilities Board of Charleston County, and Inclusion Specialist for the Catholic Archdiocese of Washington, D.C. She has been a member of the Early Childhood Faculty at the College of Education at the University of Maryland, where she taught an undergraduate education course from 2001-2006.

Ms. Oppenheimer has been at the Center for Young Children since 1999. She taught in the Green Room for six years and the Purple Room for one year before taking on an administrative role. Currently she shares the enrollment process from initial inquiry to full admission with the Program Management Specialist, Jennifer Haislip. She also shares responsibility for the day-to-day operations of the CYC with the assistant director. Ms. Oppenheimer has presented at local and national (NAEYC) professional conferences on topics in early childhood literacy, math, and curriculum. Most recently Ms. Oppenheimer has served as a conference proposal reviewer for NAEYC and for the Council for Exceptional Children Division of Early Childhood(CEC-DEC).

Jennifer Haislip
Program Administrative Specialist

Haislip, Jennifer _headshot2Jennifer Haislip has been at the Center for Young Children since 2001.  In her official supporting role, Mrs. Haislip is responsible for assisting Leslie Oppenheimer with the admissions, enrollment and scholarship processes.  She manages the flow of student observers through the Center, often scheduling hundreds of appointments per semester.  She handles the tuition billing process, and fields parent inquiries and special requests of every kind.

Mrs. Haislip is a native of the College Park area, and has held positions in several departments on campus, including Athletics, Chemical Engineering and Family Studies (now Family Science).  She is the mom of two boys, both of whom have attended the Center, and this has solidified her status as a lifelong fan of the CYC and its talented faculty.

Mixed-Age Preschool, 3-5 year olds

Red Room: cyc-red-teachers@umd.edu

Michelle SloughMichelle Slough

Michelle Slough graduated from the University of Maryland in 2016 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Early Childhood Education. She is currently pursuing her M. Ed. in Teacher Leadership with an emphasis on Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. Ms. Slough has previously worked as a student teacher in the Green Room and a co-teacher in the Yellow Room. Michelle has been teaching at the CYC since 2016. She is excited to be in the Red Room again this year!



Laura DamronLaura Damron

Laura Damron graduated from the University of Maryland in 2017 with her Bachelor's degree in Early Childhood Education and Early Childhood Special Education. Ms. Damron has been working a the CYC since 2014 starting as a student aide and summer camp teacher. She is very excited to be back at the CYC as a Red Room teacher!



Orange Room:  cyc-orange-teachers@umd.edu

Sarah HartSarah Hart

Sarah Hart graduated from the University of Maryland with a B.S. in Early Childhood Education in 2015. She completed her year-long internship in a Montgomery County Public School and in the Orange Room at CYC. Beginning in the Fall of 2012, Ms. Hart volunteered at the Children’s Developmental Clinic at Prince George’s Community College and University of Maryland locations, where she worked one-on-one with children with special needs.  



Hurst_Alison_headshotAlison Hurst

Alison Hurst graduated from James Madison University in 2007 with a B.S. in Early Childhood Education. She worked for 2 years as a Kindergarten teacher in Fairfax County before moving to CYC. Mrs. Hurst has been at the CYC since 2012 spending time in the Blue, Yellow, and Orange Rooms. She has also worked as a Summer Camp teacher and has co-directed the camp since 2019.


Yellow Room: cyc-yellow-teachers@umd.edu

Addie AnstineAddie Anstine

Addie Anstine graduated from the University of Maryland in 2017 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Early Childhood Education/ Early Childhood Special Education. While earning her undergraduate degree, Ms. Anstine worked as an aide and a summer camp teacher at CYC. Ms. Anstine is currently pursuing her M. Ed in Special Education. She is excited for another year in the Yellow Room!


Toni SmallsToni Smalls 

Toni Smalls graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park in 2019. She graduated with her bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education and Special Education. She started as a student aide at the CYC, has taught as a summer camp teacher, and as an Afternoon Gathering teacher last year. This year will mark Toni's first year as a Yellow Room teacher; she is looking forward to another year at the CYC! 



Green Room: cyc-green-teachers@umd.edu

Sara PersonSara Person

Sara Person began teaching at the Center for Young Children in the Green Room in 2005, following many years in the early childhood classroom at St. Luke Christian Day School in Silver Spring, Maryland.  She has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Art Education from Eastern Mennonite University, Harrisonburg, VA.  
Mrs. Person is an experienced art educator who taught a variety of art classes to school aged children during her summer breaks.



Cici FowlerCici Fowler

Cici Fowler has been at the CYC since 2003. She attended the University of Maryland and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education. She has student-taught in various public schools in Prince George’s and Montgomery counties. Mrs. Fowler has also taught eight years of summer camp at the CYC. In 2009, at the NAEYC conference in Anaheim, California, she presented an in-depth recycling study conducted in the Green Room. In 2010, she presented a painting study at the Orlando, Florida, NAEYC conference. Her children are all alumni of CYC.


Purple Room: cyc-purple-teachers@umd.edu

Amy LaaksoAmy Laakso

Amy Laakso holds a B.S. in Early Childhood Education and a M.Ed. in Reading Instruction from the University of Maryland.  She is a certified Reading Specialist.  After receiving her undergraduate degree, Ms. Laakso went abroad and taught English for two years in Seoul, South Korea.  During her time in Korea, Ms. Laakso taught students two-years-old through middle school.  She started at the CYC in 2007 as a student aide in the Orange and Green Rooms.  She has since been a classroom teacher for six CYC Summer Camps and co-director for one.  As part of her Master's program, Ms. Laakso taught a reading intervention camp sponsered by the University of Maryland.  During the camp, she assessed students' reading and writing skills using several assessment tools, as well as worked with students using different interventions based on the results of their assessments. She looks forward to another great year!

Katie McAlisterKatie McAllister 

Katie McAllister graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park in 2018. She graduated with her bachelor’s degree in Family Science. Katie started working as an intern and later, became a student aide in the blue room at the CYC. This year, Katie will be working as an In-house substitute  This will be Katie's fourth year at CYC and looking forward to the new school year!

Blue Room Kindergarten: cyc-blue-teachers@umd.edu


Danielle MillerDanielle Miller

Danielle Miller is starting her thirteenth year teaching. She has been teaching kindergarten at the CYC since 2015. Previously Danielle taught 7 years in Montgomery County Public Schools. She graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education in 2008. In 2013, she graduated from the University of Maryland with a Master's degree in Teacher Leadership. Danielle is a Maryland Child Care Credentialed Teacher at Level 6. Danielle cannot wait to meet the new children coming to the Blue Room and looks forward to another fantastic year of learning!


Bernadette DalyBernadette Daly/ Special Educator 

Bernadette Daly graduated from the University of Maryland in 2000 with her BS and in 2002 with her M.Ed. in Early Childhood Special Education. From August, 2000 until July, 2016, she taught in Montgomery County Public Schools as a special educator working with children with disabilities in a variety of settings from birth through second grade, though her heart has always been in preschool. Mrs. Daly joined the Center for Young Children in 2016 as a Special Educator supporting all the classrooms. Bernadette Daly is a Maryland Child Care Credentialed Teacher at Level 6.


Sophia BrownSophia Brown / Research Specialist

Sophia Brown graduated from Bryn Mawr College in 2019 with a Bachelor's of Arts in Psychology. During her time at Bryn Mawr, Sophia worked as a classroom aide at the Phebe Anna Thorne Kindergarten in Haverford, PA, and conducting research with children at the Phebe Anna Thorne preschool in Bryn Mawr, PA. As a research specialist, Sophia is bridging her interest in research with her love for working with children. She is very excited to be a part of the CYC.


Vera WiestVera Wiest/ Telework Team

Vera Wiest has been a member of the CYC community since 2001. She graduated from Oklahoma State Tech and UMUC with a degree in business and computing. Ms. Wiest maintains the Child Development Associate credential (CDA).

Ms. Wiest has worked as a licensed Family Day Care Provider in her home taking care of children ages 3 months to 12 years old. Ms. Wiest is part of the CYC Green Committee and has been instrumental in helping the CYC become a Maryland Green School, an Eco-School USA and in attaining the Gold Office award through the UMD office of Sustainability. Vera Wiest is the CYC web developer.

Summer camp project websites by Vera Wiest:

2018 Energy - 2017 A Mixing Study -  2016 Butterflies and Bugs  - 2015 Taking Care of Our World -  2014 The Healthy Body Project

Michela DenaroMichela Denaro /Telework Team

Michela Denaro has been at the CYC since she was an undergrad aide and has been teaching since 2000.  She is entering her sixth year working in the Purple Room.  She completed a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from the University of Maryland, and a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education from Walden University. She also obtained a Maryland Child Care Certification in Early Childhood Development.  Mrs. Denaro also served as the CYC Summer Camp Director from 2002 to 2013.

Music Teacher

Eric Maring Eric Maring

Eric Maring, known as “Mr. M” by the students, is thrilled to have been teaching music at CYC since 2007. He received his M.Ed from the University of Maryland and taught elementary school in Washington, D.C. and Montgomery County for 6 years before becoming a full time music educator and performer. He’s the proud father of two CYC graduates.

Mr. M has created many videos to share with the children of the Center for Young Children, including two travel videos. Please take the time to enjoy these with your children here: Mr. M's Videos. Visit Mr. M's Web Site.


Mr. M has recorded and produced many CDs with the CYC children singing some of the songs he has taught throughout the year. Here are the covers of many of the CDs with a link to a sample mp3 selection from each.

2016 CYC CD

2016 CD cover

2015 CYC CD

2014 CYC CD

2013 CYC CD

2012 CYC CD

2011 CYC CD

2010 CYC CD

2009 CYC CD